By Lacy Hardee
For The Loris Scene
The hiring of 26-year coaching veteran Tim Graham to lead the Lions baseball programs this season has been announced.
“We are very fortunate to have an experienced baseball coach of Tim Graham’s caliber to take over our baseball programs,” said LHS athletic director Barry Brooks.
“Tim has a proven track record and believes in educating his players on the fundamentals and instilling a love of the game of baseball.”
Graham takes over the Lion varsity program as former coach Keith Daniels stepped down to devote his time to pursue his master’s degree and other interests.
Graham takes over the helm of a team that reached the 8-AA State Championship series last season and fell one game short of the title. The team was home to eight seniors who all made contributions to the record-breaking season.
But Graham knows first-hand the talents of the returnees and the younger players on the jayvee and B-team squads. Graham has already been looking over the efforts of those players, and is eager to start the short fall practices and get a first-hand look at those players seeking to make the 2014-2015 LHS baseball teams.
“I know first-hand that Loris is always competitive on the baseball diamond, and that the players work hard at the game,” said Graham. “I am excited to get on the field and begin practicing, focusing on the fundamentals first and building relationships with all the players.”
Graham says he will be involved in all teams from B-team, junior varsity, and of course varsity level.
“We will spend a lot of time working together on and off the field, and focus on building the program from the bottom up,” said Graham.
“I believe in developing the right habits early, and our staff will even keep an eye on the recreation leagues as well.”
Graham was born and raised in Wise, Va., and played his high school ball at J.J. Kelly, who won state championships in 1981,’82 and ’83.. Graham attended Mars Hill College and played from 1984-1987. He then completed graduate school at Appalachian State University.
Graham coached two years at George Washington High School in Danville, Va. There, his teams were the western district champions both years and region champions in 1989.
He moved on to become head coach at Abingdon High School from 1990-1998. They became Highlands district champions in 1995 and 1996, and Graham was named Coach of the Year in both of those seasons. While at Abington, Graham’s teams made state tournament appearances five out of eight years. Three of his players were selected for VHSL All Star game.
Coach Graham took over at Richlands High School 1998-2000. The school was southwest district champions all three years. In 2001, he became head coach for North Myrtle Beach 2001-2010, resurrecting the program which had not been to the playoffs for 10 years.
North Myrtle made the state playoffs five out of eight years. They were region VII champions in 2007. During his previous coaching stints, he was a part of numerous district championship teams and state tournament appearances.
Coach Graham has coached several state all-stars and division I signees, and had two of his players selected in the MLB draft. He was also an associate scout for the Atlanta Braves Organization from 2003-2009.
Graham will be leaving his position as assistant varsity coach at Myrtle Beach High School where he began in 2011.
Graham’s love of the game kept him busy year-round as a coach for the Myrtle Beach Stars programs, head coach at the Coastal Baseball Academy and the U.S. Baseball Academy teams and as a private instructor.
CBA officials noted Graham as “A very dedicated baseball coach who is a great addition to our program; Coach Graham is a big believer in teaching the game right.”